Daniel Ricciardo is set to be put under an intense pre-season with McLaren giving their star recruit “homework” to make sure he has a fast start to life at his new team.
While typically drivers are given time to get familiar with their surroundings, testing has been reduced to three days in 2021.
As such, McLaren have a key objective to make the most of the pre-season time with Ricciardo, setting a clear goal for the Aussie superstar.
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“The objective is to be at the first race, in qualifying, and it be like Daniel has driven the McLaren and has worked with these engineers, and the team, for a long time,” McLaren racing director Andrea Stella said, per autosport.com.
It is consistent with what Stella told McLaren.comback in December, revealing that building a strong rapport between Ricciardo and Lando Norris would be key to the team’s success.
“The most important thing from my point of view is that we preserve the conditions that we created to allow that high level of collaboration between Carlos and Lando,” he said at the time.
“But it’s not just about preserving those conditions, we may have to adapt them. Daniel is not Carlos and his relationship with Lando will be different.”
So, what exactly will it look like?
Well, according to Stella the first step will occur well before the team’s attention turns towards testing or the season-opener at Bahrain.
“There will be in January, first of all, plenty of conversations,” Stella added, per autosport.com.
“They will have to be personal, individual, and relationship building.
“These will touch the technical elements, and these will touch the racing element. It will be like, ‘do you remember that race when you were very competitive, what made you so competitive in that race?’ Then you develop a conversation.”
That is not it for Ricciardo either, who will receive some homework to do – all in the name of building that relationship.
“We will, for example, give him quite a lot of homework,” Stella continued.
“We will give him a recording of the radio communications of, for example, [last] season.
“We will say, ‘Daniel, now listen to that, and come back to us and tell us what you hear. What you would improve, what you liked, what you didn’t like, how you want to be spoken to and so on?’
“And then there is the simulator. The simulator is a good way to see how a driver is driving.”